House Speaker Alan Cayetano once again denied that President Rodrigo Duterte has something to do with the fate of ABS-CBN franchise renewal in congress.
In an ambush interview, Cayetano reiterated that the President does not have the control of what they do in Congress.
According to the speaker, the President never told him to grant or not to grant the ABS-CBN franchise.
“Hindi ko kokontrahin o sasang-ayunan ‘yung sinabi ni Congressman [Carlos] Zarate o kung sino man ang nagsasabi but I can tell you and look you in the eyes na ang ano sa akin ni Presidente is just be fair,” Cayetano said.
“Bahala kayo d’yan. The President has never told me to grant or not grant the [franchise], and kung titingnan mo ang attitude ng Presidente, sa confirmation, sa mga secretary, kung anong teritoryo ng Kongreso, sa Kongreso yan,” he added.
The ABS-CBN franchise renewal bills have been stalled in Congress for years primarily because of the President’s public opposition to it.
Last week, through the sponsorship of Cayetano, HB 6732 which would have given ABS-CBN provisional franchise until October 2020 breezed through 1st and 2nd reading.
However, several administration allies moved to recall the 2nd reading voting to give more time for debates and amendments.
That move has resulted in some other congressman to move for the abandonment of the provisional franchise and go directly to the 25-year franchise which will mean more delays for ABS-CBN to go back on air.
And that’s how Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas also sees the house actions.
“We have reasons to believe that the executive branch did some string-pulling to derail the temporary return of the network on-air,” Brosas said.
“Come to think of it, the bill on ABS-CBN interim franchise breezed through the committee on the whole and second reading with the consensus of the house only to be stopped in its track by notable allies of the president who called instead for discussions of the 25-year franchise,” she added.